NMR spectroscopy is a powerful tool for examining the structure, dynamics and interactions of biological macromolecules in solution. The NMR spectroscopy group is part of the wider structural biology platform within the Department of Protein Evolution, and is involved in several projects investigating protein structure and function. Several projects study the evolution of complex protein folds from simpler peptide units.
Folding, unfolding and degradation of proteins is mediated by complex macromolecular assemblies in the cell. We investigate the structure, function and evolution of these nanomachines.
We use various biochemical, biophysical and microbiological techniques to explore conserved structural characteristics of proteins and their importance for function, by going from prokaryotes to eukaryotes.
We employ classical biochemistry, X-ray crystallography and spectroscopic approaches to study biomolecular interactions in contexts ranging from enzymatic catalysis to macromolecular complexes.
We use bioinformatic approaches to elucidate the structure, function, and evolution of proteins.
We combine electron cryo-microscopy, molecular dynamics simulations and bioinformatic tools to study the emergence and evolution of the cytomotive function of actin and actin-like proteins.
Selfish’ RNA likely is at the origin of all life on earth and it persists today in the form of retrotransposons and RNA-based viruses. We study human LINE-1 and Alu RNAs and how these ‘molecular parasites’ copy their sequences into genomic DNA. We determine and interpret molecular structures combined with insight from biochemical approaches and cell-based assays.
We study the relationship between humans and their gut microbiota by focusing on associations between specific microbes that are under the influence of host genetics (i.e., heritable microbes) and their effect on host weight, adiposity, and other health-associated phenotypes. We are interested in the mechanisms underlying the associations between host phenotype and the ecology of heritable microbes.
Methanogenic archaea inhabiting the gut are under the influence of host genetics (i.e., they are heritable) and are also associated with host metabolism and other health-associated phenotypes. We are interested in the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms underlying these associations.
Environmental changes shape developmental and behavioral traits in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus. The molecular mechanisms associated with such phenotypic plasticity are under scrutiny at our group.
Our group is analyzing large-scale sequencing data for finding the genetic basis for various traits and to characterize general patterns of genome evolution in nematodes.
We combine molecular and genetic approaches to study life history switches and reproductive strategies in parasitic nematodes of the genera Strongyloides and Onchocerca.
Nematode biology, phylogeny and ecology: Being convinced that environments shape genomes we hope that the study of ecology, behaviour, interactions and relationships of nematodes in nature will explain many results molecular biology provided already but could not be explained so far.
The molecular control of cellular differentiation and development in marine algae is largely unexplored. Our group aims to address this by understanding how the epigenome influences the complex life history and reproductive cycle in red algae.
We use molecular, genetic and bioinformatic approaches to study the genomic barriers to reproduction in brown algae, with a specific focus on the role of sex chromosomes.
Our group is interested in signaling pathways that link fertilization with the onset of embryogenesis in plants. We are focusing on factors provided by the male gametophyte that play an important role in gamete interaction and early embryogenesis.
We use a comparative approach to study the evolution of gene regulation and aim to associate gene regulatory changes with the adaptive evolution of complex traits.